KINGSTON — While throwing its support behind greater levels of carpooling, local law enforcement is warning deceptive illegal, or “robot”, taxi operators that they can find no cover under such claims.
The comments from head of the Traffic Division, Senior Superintendent of Police Radcliffe Lewis, come amid renewed interest in carpooling since the revelation that toll rates for Highway 2000 East-West are set to increase on Saturday.
Yesterday, Lewis encouraged motorists to carpool, noting that they would “conserve on a lot of things, including gas”, and that “if you have less cars on the road, economically, it would be beneficial for the country because you would use less petrol”.
However, he also sought to allay fears of motorists concerned that carpooling neighbours might be pulled over by police who suspect them of travelling in robot taxis.
“We understand when carpooling is being done, because it is being done by persons who are working legitimately,” said Lewis, who added that drivers suspected of “running taxi” would have to provide evidence of where they work.
“And then we are going to check to find out if you are speaking the truth,” he said.
Lewis said his team has “a clear knowledge” of the illegal operators.
“We know every illegitimate taxi operator and we know all the robot operators. They can’t fool us.”
Lewis admitted illegal operators are very creative, so the police have to be vigilant.
“What I’m quite certain that they will do is when the passengers are in the vehicle, they are going to tell them to tell the police that it is carpool,” he said. “So we are going to be on the alert for that, too.”
Lewis added: “Once you can be identified, and the driver can be identified as somebody who has their legitimate work, and everybody in the car is working, then we know it is a carpool.”
In the event the driver is having trouble proving the legitimacy of his work, “that is going to be deemed as a robot taxi”. (Gleaner)